The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Thursday dismissed media claims that parliament is wasting tax payers money by awarding medals to all former Members of Parliament (MPs) at the forthcoming Golden Jubilee Awards due on Monday.
Kadaga stated that Office of the President had procured the medals in 2012 and that the only costs parliament would have this time is to hire the venue for the ceremony.
Kadaga said the Golden Jubilee awards for up to 1,400 former MPs, right from the Legislative Assembly, are intended to recognize their contribution to the democratization of the country. Kadaga said that the awards were not her creation but fell under the National Honors and Awards Act, 2001.
“Each Parliament had its unique contributions and challenges. Those of the Parliament in 1958 were different from the Parliament in 2016,” said Kadaga adding that, “these awards are meant to recognize former legislators for work done in building democracy in Uganda.”
Kadaga explained that initially members of the 9th Parliament were due to be recognized in 2013 in Tororo, but that the function did not take off. “Because of instability in the country in the past, some MPs left without any recognition at the end of their term,” said Kadaga.
Parliament in conjunction with the Presidential Awards Committee is scheduled to decorate about 1,400 legislators who have served in the House since Uganda’s Independence with the Golden Jubilee Medal.
The ceremony, to be presided over by President Yoweri Museeni and where current MPs, who served in previous parliaments, will also be honored.
She said that the reported negative perception by sections of the public about the awards may be because MPs’ contributions have not been well explained. There has been a public uproar about MPs expenses, including funeral, travel and car benefits and costs.